Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Where to see cherry blossom in Kyoto

According to the official Japanese cherrry blossom forecast (yes there is such a thing!) the cherry blossom in Kyoto will start to bloom tomorrow and will be at their peak March 31st to April 8th. That means if you're living in Kyoto or are visiting there soon, now is the time to start planning where you will go to see the beautiful blossoms.

While it is true that you will see cherry blossom everywhere you go, there are some places in Kyoto which are especially beautiful. Here are some of the best places in Kyoto to see the sakura (cherry blossom.)

Okazaki Canal 
This extremely pretty canal is a popular place for boat rides. It's a great way to view to blossoms planted on both sides of the canal.

The Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens
The gardens at the far end of the Imperial Palace grounds have a lovely selection of cherry blossom trees.

Kamogawa is the big river which runs through the centre of Kyoto. There are cherry blossom trees planted all along the river so in spring it is the perfect place to go for a walk or cycle ride.

Philosophers Path
Philosopher's Path, one of the most popular areas to view the cherry blossom in Kyoto, runs alongside a small river for three kilometers. Tourists from all over Japan come to see the cherry blossom here.

Kyoto Botanical Gardens
These gardens are the home of many beautiful flowers and plants so it is a great place to go any time of the year. However in spring it really comes into it's own when the small sakura forest is in full bloom and everyone flocks to have picnics under the blossoms.

Gion is famous for it's Geisha but it's also a great place to see the cherry blossom. It's a very photogenic area and therefore popular for wedding photos. One day I went and saw five couples having their photos taken in their wedding outfits.

Okazaki Canal

The Kyoto Imperial Palace Gardens

The River Kamo

Philosophers Path

Kyoto Botanical Gardens


Have you ever been to Japan in Spring or do you ever plan to?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Where to See Plum Blossom in Kyoto

Plum blossom at KitanoTenmangu Shrine

Cherry blossom in Japan may be more famous, but plum blossom blooms first and therefore is significant in signalling the beginning of spring. The end of February to the beginning of March is the perfect time to go viewing plum blossom in Japan. Here is a list of the best places to view plum blossom in Kyoto.

KitanoTenmangu Shrine 北野天満宮
What: 2000 plum trees
When: mid Feb. to early Mar. Plum festival on 25th Feb.

Ryoanji Temple 龍安寺
What: 80 plum trees
When: late Feb.

Shoseien Garden 渉成園
What: 30 plum trees
When: mid Feb.

Umenomiya Taisha Shrine 梅宮大社
What:: 35 varieties of plums, 550 plum trees
When: mid Feb. to early Mar.

Kyoto Imperial Palace 京都御苑
What: 20 varieties of plums, 250 plum trees
When: mid Feb. to mid Mar.

Nijo Castle 二条城
What: 3 varieties of plums, 130 plum trees
When: mid Feb. to early Mar.

Tenryuji Temple 天龍寺
how many, what kind: 3 varieties of plums
when: from late Feb.

Otoyo-jinja Shrine 大豊神社
What: The biggest weeping plum tree in Kyoto; 250 to 300 years old.
When: early to mid Mar.

Botanical Gardens 植物園
What: 60 varieties of plum, 150 plum trees
When: mid Feb. to late Mar.

Jonangu Shrine 城南宮
What: 2 varieties of plums, 150 weeping plum trees
When: late Feb.

 What signals the start of spring for you?

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